Imps vs. Alien

Tampere Art Museum H.R. Giger exhibition

Story and photo by Vasia Tolou, '09 IMP
Okay, so it wasn't exactly a battle. More of a case of us admiring the beautifully disgusting or disgustingly beautiful art pieces by H.R.Giger at the Tampere Art Museum. The newly founded IMPD group of designers has been doing a lot of interesting things both online and in school premises lately, however, we hadn't done anything more organized yet. All that changed this Thursday with our visit to the museum, kindly organized by our very own Neil Hopkins.

H.R.Giger, for those of you who don't know him, is a surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer that's mostly known by his work in the movies Alien, Dune and Species.

Actually, the piece one meets first upon entering the exhibition, is a table and chairs designed for the movie Dune. Giger's famous Harkonnen Capo Chair isn't exactly something you'd find in IKEA and it's certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but that doesn't make his designs any less beautiful or ingenious. The chairs looked surprisingly comfy too, but for the sake of preservation and decency, our behinds or any other part of our anatomy weren't allowed anywhere near them.

The tour continued with many paintings, sketches and gadgets Giger made, including a blood-filled hourglass device with the head of a blindfolded man in the center. It wasn't operational at the time, but there was a video displaying how the blood would flow on the head and into the vial on the lower side. The device and head would then be flipped and the same thing would happen all over again.

Also on display was an alien head complete with those lovely sets of teeth. Unfortunately, the materials were pretty much falling apart since they're not made to last and it's been a good deal of time since it was made. Our guide said that we might have been a few of the last people to see it on display in a museum.

The coolest, by far, item of the exhibition, however, was the full-body alien sculpture hanging on the wall opposite the Harkonnen Chair Set. A cat-like figure with a tail that would make a knife wound seem like a needle prick and you'd certainly not want to be at the business end of those nails. This deadly and agile beast is the monster featured in Alien 3.

We got all sorts of nice information and trivia on Giger and his work, thanks to our tour guide who's name, unfortunately, I didn't take note of. She gave the tour in English and made us feel very welcome. In fact, the museum people were kind enough to not only give us free entrance and tour to the Giger exhibition, but also to the other two exhibitions featured in the building.

I would have loved to post some pictures, but they were prohibited, so all I have for you is a snapshot of our Anna and Tero in what looks like an "about to be attacked by an alien from above" position. I recommend H.R.Giger's exhibition to all artists/artists to be out there and you certainly don't want to miss it if you are a movie freak. It will be up until the 5th of April as will the other two exhibitions.